The fire in the Morwell open cut mine adjacent to the Hazelwood power station blanketed Morwell and the surrounding area in smoke and ash for six weeks in February and March 2014. In response to community concerns about the long-term health effects, the Victorian Department of Health commissioned the Hazelwood Health Study. The study is led by independent researchers from Monash University in collaboration with Federation University, University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, and the CSIRO.
The Hazelwood Health Study is about identifying potential health outcomes for people who may have been impacted by the smoke from the mine fire. These might include heart and lung disease, cancer or mental health problems. It will also look at the effects on vulnerable groups such as infants and children, young people, and older people.
The website has been set up to keep the local communities and other interested people up to date on the progress of the study. The website has been designed to allow two-way communication, so we welcome comments and queries.
The study involves multiple research streams targeting different health outcomes and groups. Many people in the local area have been invited to participate in one or more of these activities. This may have been via local campaigns in the newspaper or radio, through community groups or by being directly approached by mail.
All research streams have now completed their first round of data collection. A number of findings have been released and more will be forthcoming. More information on the study timeline is available here and details of all findings released to date are available here.
The study streams are now looking at the ongoing health and wellbeing of the community. As part of this work, people may be invited to participate in follow up health assessments, asked to complete further surveys, or be invited to talk about their experience during the mine fire event and since. This work is expected to continue for several years.